The Russian Princess And The Dictator

The Russian Princess and the Dictator

Princess And The Dictator Love story

She was a princess. Thrown out of her country by a revolution. She worked with her enemies. Most of the time, she was busy with her typewriter registering petty details of her life in shorthand. She was with a group working against one of the most ruthless dictators of all time. Very cleverly escaped the wrath of the dictator that fell on her associates. She had a carefree temperament taking very friendly to all the turmoil of her itinerant life.

Her habit of diary writing, just a habit without any intention of helping history. She unfolded many of the mysteries of her times. Mysteries are always enveloped around controversial personalities, great wars, bombarding, executions, sham court trials, and unbridled ambitions without conscience. The princess is the White Russian Princess Marie (Missie)Vassiltchikov. The diary is ‘Berlin Diaries’, and the dictator is no other than Adolf Hitler.

Changed The History Of The World

Marie Vassiltchikov(1917-1978) was an outsider in Germany that was to turn all swastika. The first three decades of her life saw events that changed the history of the world. The closing of the First World War, the Bolshevik Revolution. The Great Depression, the Second World War. A period throbbing with new and contradictory ideologies- Communism and Capitalism, Democracy and Nazism. Missie was from the family of blue blood, the white Russian rejected by the communistic upsurge- still. Her travels all over Europe- Germany, France, Lithuania, later Austria, then Paris, and lastly London- as a refugee with a nonchalant spirit gave her stability in her wanderings. Her connections with the European aristocracy provided her all the material supports despite her almost empty purse.

In 1940 with her sister Princess Tatiana Vassiltchikova, she landed Berlin as a stateless person and managed to get work permits. A brief stay with the Broadcasting Service and she was transferred to the German Foreign Ministry’s Information Office, the AA.

Our Interest In Her Life

From here begin those contacts and her diaries and the travail of the battered Berlin that add to our interest in her life. Working in AA as assistant to Dr. Adam von TrottzuSolz- a Rhodes Scholar, she met the other members of his secret group and became pally-pally with them. The main 20 July plot was brewed in this group- the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. How the plot came to a fiasco. How the bomb exploded and Hitler escaped almost unscathed and how those involved in the failed coup d’ teat were executed ruthlessly. After sham trial by Hitler is history but the question is how far the day-to-day advance of so secret a plan was recorded in Missies’ diaries and how far she was herself a member of the 20 July plot.

The Jottings In Her Diaries

The jottings in her diaries show that she almost adored Dr.Adam von TrottzuSolz and the Rhodes Scholar, too, had the trust in her to discuss the 20 July strategic details. But Missie denies being actively involved in the plot. Her 19th July 1944 jottings say. ”The truth is that there is a fundamental difference in outlook between all of them and me: not being German. I am concerned only with the elimination of the Devil.

I have never attached much importance to what happens afterward. Being patriots, they want to save their country from complete destruction by setting up some interim government. I have never believed that even such an interim government would be acceptable to the Allies, who refuse to distinguish between ‘good’ Germans and ‘bad.’ This, of course, is a fatal mistake on their part and we will probably all pay a heavy price for it.” Her prophecy was right, her friends paid the price with their heads but the Nazis could not sniff her links in the conspiracy.

She Was Clever

Though all was in her diary, she was clever enough to write in shorthand and kept it hidden and changed places often. She was true to her friends that with the courage she visited Gestapo headquarters so many times to plead for the life of Dr.Adam von TrottzuSolz and brought for him food till she was warned by one of the well-wishers in the enemy camp about the dire consequences that she aborted her impossible efforts. Her “Berlin Diaries” was edited after her death in 1978 by her brother George Vassiltchikhov, who however does not outright deny Missie’s involvement in that plot which, if successful, could affect history in a major way.

The jottings of Missie become important as they shed light on a rather obscure feature of Hitler’s impact that he swept away the aristocracy of Europe. With this attempted assassination excuse Hitler got almost ten thousand from the aristocracy killed!

Literary Details Of Bombardment Of Berlin

And then the vivid and rather literary details of bombardment of Berlin in her diaries are par excellent.
The tired and stained princess left for Vienna served as a nurse, and lastly, at the end of the war on 4 May 1945, she was rescued in a near-death state by United States Third Army. And her diaries covering a span of but 5 years those from 1940 to 1945 close here.

After that the nuptial ties with the U.S. Army Captain Peter Harnden on 28 January 1946, the couple settled in Paris, and after her husband’s death in 1971, she shifted to London and lived there till her death in 1978.
It appears like a fairy tale, a princess with her daring and interesting friends ready to embrace all dangers, her hardships and near escape from the monster and the entry of a prince and in the end living together happily ever after. Still, all the contents are drawn from real life.

Bombardment Of Berlin From Her Diaries

Before we lay our hands on the A to Z of the five years’ account of the princess, let’s have a cursory perusal of an excerpt of the bombardment of Berlin from her diaries:-

‘All the buildings had been destroyed, only their outside walls still stood. Many cars were weaving their way cautiously through the ruins, blowing their horns wildly. A woman seized my arm and yelled that one of the walls was tottering and we both started to run. I caught sight of the mailbox into which I had dropped that long letter to Tatiana the night before; it still stood but was completely crumpled. Then I saw my food shop Krause, or rather what remained of it. Maria had begged me to buy some provisions on the way home, as the one in which her coupons were registered had been destroyed. But poor Krause would be of no help either now.”(written by Sanjay Kumar Kundan )

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